AFL

West 21

East 14

 

January 13, 1963

 

By Scotty Stirling

Oakland Tribune

 

History repeated itself at Balboa Stadium at San Diego yesterday when reserve quarterback Frank Tripucka came off the bench in the fourth period to give the Western All-Stars a 21-14 triumph over the East in the American Football League's second annual All-Star Game.

 

Last year, Cotton Davidson relieved Jack Kemp for the West and sparked the team to a 47-27 triumph. It wasn't that explosive yesterday but the 35-year-old Tripucka, a real war horse in pro football, coolly came in and engineered a drive that broke a 14-14 tie and satisfied a pro-West crowd of 27,041.

 

Teaming with his Bronco teammate, flanker back Lionel Taylor, the league's leading receiver, Trip drove the West from its own 11 to the clincher in seven plays, hitting Taylor on three of four completed passes for 6, 49 and 29 yards, the latter a beautiful peg between two defenders into the end zone for the decisive touch.

 

Tripucka moved into late action in relief of Len Dawson of Dallas, the league’s leading passer who had one of his rare bad days yesterday. After engineering two first-half scores, Dawson failed to connect with a completion in the second half.

 

He completed 6 of 11 in the first half, although it was the running of rookie fullback Curtis McClinton that highlighted the West's scoring, but faltered badly and finished with a minus seven yards passing.

 

McClinton exploded 64 yards off right tackle for a TD the first time the West had the ball and he set up a second period score with a 22-yard gain to the East 11.

 

Big Curt gained 104 yards on eight carries and was awarded the Most Outstanding Offensive Player award.

 

With the exception of McClinton's first half running and two passing TD drives in the second half, the game was a sloppy affair with defense having the best of it.

 

Seven passes were intercepted and there were nine fumbles. Quarterbacks lost 106 yards attempting to pass. East QBs George Blanda and Jack Kemp lost most of their yardage to West defensive end Earl Faison, a 260 pounder who was voted the game's top defensive player.

 

Faison beat out Oakland defensive back Fred Williamson, who intercepted two passes, one of which set up McClinton's 22-yard run to the 11 in the West's second TD march.

 

Williamson tangled with Houston's great Charley Hennigan, winning the battle in the first half but giving up key receptions to Charley in the third period when Blanda got the East on the scoreboard.

 

Both coaches, Dallas' Hank Stram for the West and Houston's Pop Ivy for the East, felt the East's inability to run against the West line or provide Blanda with adequate pass protection was the decisive factor in the game.

 

It opened like a rout with McChnton's 64 yard shot which he cleared traffic at the line and then used his 232  pounds to shake off a couple of 200-pound defensive backs and outleg a third 40 yards to the goal line.

 

The defenses took aver after that and it wasn't until three minutes before the half that the West scored again. Williamson set things up when he picked off a Kemp pass intended for Willard Dewveall and returned it 18 yards to the East 36.

 

McClinton got three on a screen pass and then shot for 22 on a draw to the 11. On the first down, Dawson hit Dave Kocourek cutting over the middle and the Charger end took the ball on the goal line between two receivers.

 

Blanda, trailing 14-0, got hot early in the third period, moving on his first series to the West 13, but an interception by Dave Grayson on the goal line shattered the march.

 

The East got the ball back on an interception and then Blanda started working on Williamson with Hennigan.

 

With first down on his own 33, Blanda sent Charley deep and the lean Texan got behind Williamson for a 48-yard gain.

 

A holding penalty moved it to the West 19 and, after fullback Cookie Gilchrist got 11 yards, Blanda connected with Hennigan in the end zone.

 

Both Blanda and Hennigan used fakes on the play and George threw the ball perfectly just as Charley gained a step on Williamson with an in-and-out move.

 

Just before the third period ended, the East tied it up when linebacker Larry Grantham picked off a Dawson pass on the West 29 and ran it back for the tying touch.

 

The East never threatened after that and it appeared the game was destined to finish in a tie and force a sudden death overtime until Tripucka took over and settled matters.

 

The stats show the lack of offense. The West managed 157 yards rushing (104 by McClinton) and 69 passing for a 226 total while the East had 98 rushing with Gilchrist powering for 60 and 143 passing for a 241 total.

 

Even the punting was bad with the West's Jim Fraser, who led the league with a 44 yard average, hitting 35.1 for nine punts and the East's Jim Norton, another 40-plus yard punter, averaging 35.4 on seven boots.

 

The first time the West had the ball, Curtis McClinton of Dallas exploded for a 64 yard touchdown.

 

Cookie Gilchrist ahd 241 total yards for the East.

 

Charley Hennigan catches George Blanda pass for touchdown over Fred Williamson of Oakland.

 

 

 

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